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This theory is based on the fact that in imperial times, there was a small inhabited centre (vicus) in the area known as "Gli Ortacci" which belonged to the empire, hence regius ("Royal").Several hillside towns started developing in the Middle Ages, some of which are still active. the first hostilities between Lucca and Pisa arose, aimed at gaining control over the coast of the Versila, which since the High Middle Ages had been nothing more than a forest owned by feudal lords in constant rivalry with each other.In the following years the area around Viareggio, was involved in the hostilities between Pisa and Lucca, in their attempt to gain control over the coastal area.The conflict was spurred by the desire of the Lucchesi to finally gain access to the sea, and to the Pisane fear of the economic competition of its rival city.Viareggio is also an active industrial and manufacturing centre; its shipbuilding industry has long been renowned around the world and its fishing and floricultural industries are still fundamental sectors to the city's economy.Viareggio hosts the Premio letterario Viareggio Répaci for literature, established in 1929.Amongst the other events organized around the year, it is worth mentioning the Festival Gaber, which has been held every August since 2004 to celebrate the memory of Giorgio Gaber, and is attended by several high-profile Italian musicians.
The oldest building in Viareggio, known as Torre Matilde, dates back to this time and was built by the Lucchesi in 1541 as a defensive fortification to fight the constant menace of corsair incursions.
It is during these years that the feudal Lords of Versilia were forced to abdicate in favour of Castruccio Castracani.
In the following years the area upon which Viareggio would eventually be built was marked by a number of minor battles, invasions and pillages.
The most widely accepted theory recognises the city's name as deriving from the Latin Via Regis ("Kings' Road"), the name of the Medieval road linking the fortification built on the beach to Lucca.
According to other historians, instead, the name derives from Vicus Regius.
This directly affected the future of Viareggio which, from that moment, became the focus of Lucca's efforts to turn the town into its centre for commercial activities, and, in addition to the square-plan tower erected in (1534) with the aim to protect the port, several settlements started appearing.